Why did you do that?
Have you ever acted against your better judgment? Ummmm, of course you have. We all have. Sometimes you do things that you later regret. And this keeps you from achieving that lean, sexy body that you want.
- You hit snooze rather than waking up early to exercise before work.
- You blow off your healthy eating plan to indulge in a hamburger and fries.
- You start an exercise program only to drop out two weeks into it.
These regrettable actions prevent you from achieving your goals and keep you stuck.
Most of us are all too familiar with this frustrating paradox. It’s almost as if there are two sides inside of you, raging war on each other. Your sensible side versus your emotional side. What you want versus what you do.
A psychologist named Jonathan Haidt came up with a mental model that explains exactly why you do things that you wish you hadn’t – and how to take control to finally do the actions necessary to get what you really want.
“The image I came up with for myself, as I marveled at my weakness [of willpower], was that I was a rider on the back of an elephant. I’m holding the reins in my hands, and by pulling one way or the other I can tell the elephant to turn, to stop, or to go. I can direct things, but only when the elephant doesn’t have desires of his own. When the elephant really wants to do something, I’m no match for him,” explained Haidt in his book, The Happiness Hypothesis.
Human decision making is like a tiny rider on a massive elephant. The rider may think he’s in charge, but the elephant’s will always wins. The Elephant, The Rider, and The Path are a great framework for understanding yourself and what drives you. All human change depends on it.
Here’s Haidt’s mental model for creating lasting change in greater detail…
The Rider: is your rational and analytical side. The Rider is a visionary that has the ability to think long-term, to plan, and that is willing to make short-term sacrifices for long-term payoffs. The Rider loves to contemplate and analyze, has limited reserves of strength, suffers from paralysis by analysis, and relentlessly focuses on problems rather than solutions. Most crucially, the Rider is so small compared to the six-ton Elephant that anytime they disagree about which direction to go, the Rider will lose.
The Elephant: is made up of your emotions and instincts. The Elephant prefers the comfort and security of a well-trodden path, even if a new path leads to a better outcome – this is why it’s so difficult to change your habits. The Elephant has enormous strengths: love and compassion and sympathy and loyalty. The Elephant is the one who gets things done.
The Path: is your surrounding environment, the context in which the Rider and the Elephant operate. A rocky Path makes change hard, if not impossible, even when the Rider and the Elephant work together.
There are three steps to lasting change:
- Direct the Rider
- Motivate the Elephant
- Shape the Path
1) Direct the Rider:
Change begins with a plan, and it’s the Rider who comes up with plans. Direct your Rider to analyze what’s right, on what works. When you’ve lost weight and made progress towards your fitness goals in the past what worked for you? Focus on these bright spots rather than on potential problems related to your desired change. Once you’ve come up with a plan, move on. It’s important to move quickly and to avoid getting bogged down with paralysis by analysis.
2) Motivate the Elephant:
In order for the plans of your Rider to succeed, your Elephant must feel emotionally invested in the outcome. Find an emotional connection that you feel deep down in relation to the goal. Don’t just think about why you want to achieve your goal – feel why you need to achieve your goal.
3) Shape the Path:
Make change easy. Reduce obstacles in your life, so that the new desired behavior is frictionless. Move the barriers between you and the actions that you want to take. Lay out your workout clothes the night before. Spend time in the morning to prep all of your healthy daily meals. Get a trainer to hold you accountable to showing up to your workouts.
The key to effective change is getting the Elephant and the Rider moving together on a smooth path to success. Do this and you’ll stop doing things that you later regret.
If getting into the best shape of your life is a current goal that you wish you could achieve then call or email me today. I’m here to help you direct your Rider, motivate your Elephant and shape your Path…and I won’t rest until your goal has become a reality!
Zac@FitnessGearAndTraining.Com or 360-671-5059
Emotionally, that is. If you can connect emotionally to your goal then you’ve engaged your Elephant, and your chances for success increase exponentially. The idea of getting into shape is nice, but if you aren’t feeling the desire for change in your gut then it won’t go anywhere. Feel it. Feel it. Feel it.
And then achieve it.
If you want to eat for fat loss then look no farther than this fantastic recipe! Fresh ginger and spicy Sriracha take this ground chicken dish to the height of flavor and satisfaction! Enjoy this dish as a quick and healthy dinner with flavors that intensify overnight for an even more satisfying lunch.
Courtesy of RealHealthyRecipes.com
Here’s what you need…
- 1 Tablespoon arrowroot starch
- 3 Tablespoons water
- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
- 6 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced, greens and whites separated
- 2 Tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
- 1 Tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
- 1 lb ground chicken
- ½ cup bean sprouts, roughly chopped
- 10 drops liquid stevia
- 2 Tablespoons coconut aminos
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha (more as desired)
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- handful of large lettuce leaves
- In a small bowl combine the arrowroot starch and water. Set aside.
- In a large skillet or wok, place the coconut oil over medium high heat. Add the scallion whites, ginger and garlic and stir-fry until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken and stir-fry, breaking it into smaller pieces, until no pink remains, about 8 minutes.
- Add the bean sprouts, stevia, coconut aminos, and Sriracha. Stir the arrowroot starch mixture and add it to the pan, mixing until it thickens. Add the scallion greens and season to taste with the sesame oil.
- Serve the chicken in large lettuce leaves topped with fresh cilantro and more Sriracha. Enjoy!
Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 279 calories, 13g fat, 5g carbohydrate, 113mg sodium, 1g sugar, 1g fiber, and 35g protein.
Brought to you by your local wellness experts at Fitness Gear + Training, FGT, and 30-Minute Fit
Fitness Gear + Training – FGT
1605 N State St
Bellingham, WA 98225